Posts Filed Under wine appreciation
IntoWine.com recently (at least I think it was recently, as their posts for reasons unknown to me aren’t dated) ran an interview with SF Chronicle wine editor Jon Bonné (long-time readers will recall that roughly a year ago I was on a panel about writing better opinion pieces with Jon and the Wall Street Journal’s Lettie Teague, both of whom probably still in therapy trying to get over my inclusion; I’m kidding… I think…).
I’m not here today to dissect Jon’s responses (many of which ring true for me, and are worth a read because he’s a very, very intelligent guy), but one answer he gave to the IntoWine folks struck me as a bit odd. To the tape (emphasis is mine):
“The average consumer still feels intimidated by wine and wine-speak. Are publications like the Chronicle partly responsible for the prevalent feeling among consumers that wine is somehow beyond their comprehension?
If we’re going point fingers at the idea that wine is pretentious, let’s start with the spread of overpriced, mass-produced wine sold as an aspirational luxury. I’ll borrow a phrase from a conversation with a fellow writer a few days ago: You write up to your audience, not down. If sportswriters had to explain a two-point conversion every time they mentioned it, we’d all die of boredom. That’s not an excuse to fall into jargon. But there is no shortage of amateur wine criticism out there that doesn’t contribute to the conversation.”
The trouble for me is that I’ve got no idea what conversation Jon is talking about in that response.
It might be that there is a hidden wine conversation, one available only to a Romanée-Conti-sipping secret society of critics with wine review superpowers like UV vision that can detect the exact number of Brett, fruit, and mushroom particles floating around in a glass of Burgundy and determine at a glance if they are at an appropriate level. A secret society that meets in an underground lair at an undisclosed location (guarded by pools of sharks with lazer beams attached to their heads) and through joint nefarious consensus determines what wines will get the really high scores this year.
The bottom line is that this secret society might as well also be made up of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, because the real wine conversation is actually the one that the amateur critics are having. Or, I should say, it’s the thousands of real and virtual “water-cooler” conversations that the amateurs are having every day, all over the world…
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There’s been a good deal of positive reaction to my new contributions to the Wine Quiz section of The Juice newsletter (thanks for that, by the way!), and so I thought it would be fun to run each week’s Juice quiz here on 1WineDude.com, so that
you can complain directly to me that the answers are incorrect for one obscure reason or another we can extend the conversation around each of the quizzes.
The quizzes will appear a week behind those that run in The Juice – otherwise the folks at LocalWineEvents.com would be (quite justifiably!) upset with me.
So… here’s last week’s The Juice Quiz, with the answer
hidden (click the “+” button below to reveal; those reading this through RSS are just gonna have to exercise enough restraint not to scroll down far enough to spoil the fun) [Editor’s note: see comments, we’re turning off this feature in favor of adding a bit more suspense to future quizzes – the answer will appear later in the comments section from here on out!] to help slake your thirst for wine knowledge (the theme for the first several quizzes is my personal fave bubbly action – Champagne).
The Secret History Of Champagne?
Many of you were ringing in the new year with Champagne, but do you know who might have invented sparkling wine, in terms of deliberately trying to make still wines get fizzy? It almost certainly wasn’t Champagne icon Dom Perignon, who likely tried to prevent his still wines from fermenting for a second time in their bottles, thus causing the bubbly action (and exploding a not-insignificant number of those bottles!). According to award-winning wine writer Tom Stevenson, evidence suggests which country may have been the inventors of sparkling wine?
- A. France
- B. Spain
- C. England
- D. Italy
- E. Portugal…
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I’m very happy to tell you that I’ll be providing the weekly wine Quiz in The Juice newsletter, a customizable update on wine events distributed by the venerable LocalWineEvents.com.
The first month’s quizzes will focus on trivia about Champagne, in the hopes that it will help lighten the serious hangover that the stuff gave you during your libation-filled New Year’s Eve celebrations.
I’ve long admired LWE founder & CEO Eric Orange (and not just because he’s a local PA guy!), and was a subscriber to The Juice back when 1WineDude.com was just a twinkle in my Riedel stemware. So I’m excited to be helping him out, and I’m very much looking forward to all the flaming I will get from The Juice readers telling me that my Quiz answers are actually all wrong interacting with The Juice faithful!
If you’re not a subscriber to The Juice, then you’re missing out – it’s one of the best ways to zero-in on wine events happening in your area, or wherever your travels might be taking you during any given week; and the website and newsletter have become invaluable resources on wine happenings for hundreds of thousands of wine geeks across the world. So, go sign up already!
I’ve not finalized the Quiz themes going forward, so if you’ve got great ideas for topics/themes on which to focus for future editions of The Juice, please shout ‘em out!
Quite a few of you noticed earlier this week that I not-so-subtly indicated via twitter and Facebook that I was toasting my career transition into the wine world with a certain Brut Rosé sparkler – the genuine article, as it were, from Champagne.
Not too surprising then that I was contacted shortly thereafter (a matter of a few hours, actually) by Charlie Holbert, Digital Marketing Director of Killer Infographics – these are the folks who turn stats into visually arresting web graphic, and their work includes topics such as the history of the iPad, as well those that are a lot less touchy-feely, such as Football Related Deaths and the always popular How To Tell If Your Rock Is A Conflict Diamond (yes, really).
The reason that Charlie Holbert’s contacting me wasn’t surprising is that Killer Infographics has just finished up a project for for wine.com, the topic of which is the history of (and interesting facts about) Champagne. Fortunately, they left out stats on sabering-related deaths and dismemberments (in this version, anyway).
I was invited to share the Champagne Infographic below, which I have because a) it’s a great run-down of how tightly-woven Champagne is the culture of our modern world, b) I find it amazing that a graphic this lengthy (nearly 7000 pixels) can retain one’s focus and interest for as long as it does (maybe I need to “go graphic” on all my long-ass posts from now on instead of my usual droning sentences…), and c) most of you have Champagne on the brain because of New Year’s Eve (or you *will* have it in your brain, pounding away at you on January 1st…). Killer Infographics left out the part about the evidence suggesting that the Brits actually invented sparkling wine (see Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia for more on that), in terms of deliberately introducing secondary fermentation in bottle specifically to engender bubbles – something which good ol’ Dom Perignon almost certainly tried to arrest (they did leave that last part in, bless their bubbly hearts), and something that I’m sure doesn’t sit well with most of the French (they still make the world’s best sparklers… though to be fair the Brits – yes, the Brits – are starting to come into their own with world-class bubblies), but something that probably sits better with everybody than reading about Football related deaths.
For the bloodthirsty few who are clamoring for bubbly facts as well as the death and dismemberment, the infographic does make several references to world wars, the Great Depression, and deathbed quotes. Just sayin’.
Anyway… you can see the full graphic below after the jump. Enjoy…
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